Saturday, December 28, 2013

Surgery update #2

So on Facebook I am on update #8.  I will try to recap but bare with me as I am physically and mentally exhausted. Surgery went fantastic. It is corrected. However, since the length of her fusion is so long, her bending will be extremely limited. And that's okay.   Earliest we are out of here is Tuesday.

Now, recovery. Oy. Been beyond horrible.  We are in a step down unit. Should go to regular floor later today. PT will come in and set her upright and have her stand and maybe even walk. Poor Alyona can't eat until tomorrow.  She threw up alyl night long. Literally.  Been having a fever on and off. Heart rate was in the  170's. now, between 115 and mid 120's.

So no sleep for either of us. Good news is she has not thrown up since about six this morning. In addition, many lines and IV's taken out. Patches taken off and drain may come out today as well as not much blood draining which is good. Doc said today will be the worst day. Not sure how that's possible after last night. Geez.

Just got word we are moving in 30 minutes to a floor unit. Four doors down.   So, we will be at duke in room 5316 for a few more days. Reni is doing fine now which is a relief.   Update more later. AB finally called back BCBS.   Got to go pack up.   Pray for quick healing. Both of us need rest.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Update surgery #1

Little sleep and off to Duke. Went to x-ray and it was wrong place. Rerouted and x-rays done. Went to pre-op and taken back ASAP due to time. IV took another try. Alyona was silent the whole time in pre-op. she knows what's coming and that makes it hard.  Discussed many things. Surgery
Will take about 5 hours.   There are two types of scoliosis causes we are told. Idiopathic and neuromuscular.   Alyona is neither. So once they know, they'll know how much she'll bleed.  If she bleeds a lot, we then go to ICU. If not, we go to the floor.   Earliest out of here is Tuesday. Dread it. They will try to have her sit up tomorrow. She will not be eating today at all.   Keep you posted.

Reni is doing okay. She is finally drinking. Wahoo!!!  Sofie is really stuffed up but okay.   No fevers for anyone this morning so that is a huge relief.  More later. Very, very tired

Irina's birthday is today.   Happy birthday Irina.

Update on Chaos

Yes, that's the best title I could come up with with what all is transpiring here these few days.  So, here goes.  We made it through Christmas as you know.  Reni is fairing okay after surgery.  Pain, but to be expected.  Our problem right now w/ Reni is running a low fever still and NOT drinking enough.  We are trying everything to get her to drink more.  Hoping tomorrow she can turn this around. 

Tomorrow, we go to Duke for Alyona's big scoliosis surgery.  Warren and I will both be gone. Original plan was to have  a friend watch the kids during the day till Warren got home.  Well, we found out today that same friend has her kids sick with the flu.   We have already been exposed.  Praying it doesn't go through our house with three surgical patients.  We scrubbed and sanitized ALL day today.  Hey, at least it's clean in here.  LOL.  So, scrambled today to figure out what to do.  Sweet friend Rebecca is coming over for the bunch.  Kids love her so it's great.  Warren will then come home early in the evening once Alyona is stable and in room.

Saturday, trash hauled off and hopefully Warren can come visit w/ kids if we have no sick kids.  Right now, Summer and Sofie are coughing.  No fevers.  Gave them something this evening so hoping it's nothing.  Our docs have already been told it is a crazy week for Warren and I and IF a friend is to bring them, you'll know why.  Again, they know our family well and the kids and understand if something 'weird' happens.  Dinners are being provided the next 3 or 4 days I believe.  That's a big relief.   Warren goes in on Monday.  His dad is coming down to take him & stay w/ him.  A friend is watching the kids.  Now, Warren may or may not stay overnight.  So, he will probably be home Tuesday.  I'm hoping and praying we can get the heck out of Duke on Tuesday but that is yet to be seen.  Told that is the earliest we can be out and to just wait and see.  It's no fun staying there.  I'll tell you that much.  Always great to be home versus the hospital.  But, we always do what is best for the kids having the surgery.

In addition to all this going on, somewhat on a race against time for end of year stuff.  See, Nik's new implants need to be processed.  BCBS has permission to expedite.  However, hold up is Advanced Bionics who is now claiming to both of us they have received NOTHING.  Both BCBS and us have email confirmations.  UNC I'm sure has their confirmations as well.   Something is up.  AB is not even returning our case manager's calls.  It's nuts!   So, working on a call to AB w/ BCBS tomorrow as soon as Alyona is wheeled back to surgery.  Geez.  If it is not in by year's end, not sure we can get the implants due to insurance changes in our policy.  Hence, the rush.  Though our first contact to do this was w/ AB back in September!--- BCBS has that on record.  Again, not sure what's happening and even our case manager is simply perplexed that they're claiming no order was ever given despite us having proof.  Just weird. 

Much more happening here but truly need to get to bed and finish packing.  Please think of Alyona tomorrow.  Irina's birthday is also tomorrow. I'm too young to have a 21 yo daughter!  Nik fell apart tonight. It's very difficult for him to be away from me.  Very.  Other kids are trying to help with that as well.  I'm very grateful for a team of friends and neighbors that are pulling together to help out.  Checking on kids, bringing meals, watching kids, etc.  Means a lot to us.  Also relieved we only have to do this once in a blue moon.  Do have to get going.  Will do surgical updates as time permits but Alyona comes FIRST.  Course, being up all night woken by beeping machines, I'll have time to write.  Did last time but did most on Facebook.  Wish us luck.  Pray that the three surgical patients pull through w/ flying colors and no one here gets the flu or sick on top of it all. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Well, after Reni's surgery, life goes on.  So, thought I'd share some pics of a little of today.

Yana helping Reni through surgery post op. 

And Warren got this from work.  Cute!  We're going to possibly do it Christmas Day or day after for somethign to do. 

Bojan, Logan and Max helped peel a pile of apples.  HOwever, then they had a peeling fight.

Peelings everywhere!

More of the peeling.  They filled the pot!  We have much, much more to do.

Sofie licking the beater after Chocolate Chip cookies.

We made these late at night b/c that's when we remembered we needed cookies for Santa.  Yana bought her this shirt for Christmas.  Not my style but Sofie loves it and that's what counts.

Nik, loving his little sister.  He really does love her. 

Non traditional Christmas movie on Christmas Eve, we all watched Pirates of the Caribbean.  Here's Summer and Alyona eating burnt cookies.  Yes, burned them.  No one wanted to go to bed.  Drove us all nuts.

Nik's Christmas Letter

Every year, Nik writes Santa a letter.  This year, he did the same.  Except Santa made a mistake and forgot to take it with him.  Ahh, mom fail.  Anyhow, he attached a picture and everything this year. 

A view of the entire picture and letter.

For this, he sat in the dining room and looked in the living room.  This is a very accurate view of it.

This is my room in the first section.  Notice mom and dad sleeping and stuff under the bed.  Ahem, apparently he's discovered things under the bed.  Second picture is the fire place w/ Santa's legs coming down I think.

Love, love what Nik wrote.  Irina writes it verbatim how Nik says it.

And Nik's picture w/ Santa.  One of my creative ones.  Love my baby boy.  Growing up way too fast for me.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Reni's Surgery

Yes, Reni had surgery today, Christmas Eve.  We were first on the surgery docket so that was great.  Not so great getting up at o'dark thirty but hey, we made it.  While I waited for Reni, Warren ran to work to the pharmacy to fill all her meds post surgery as well as Max, Irina's and mine since we'll be unable to the next few weeks.  Surgery went well.  Tonsils and adenoids were rather large.  So, glad it was done.  I knew she'd do fine w/ surgery though a tad combative out of surgery.  The hard part was pre-op.  Memories came flooding back.  Something you future adoptive parents need to be aware of.  The surgeons' hats set her off.  Terrified completely of them.  We came up w/ a plan for the hats.  Worked and she was fine for a bit.  Drugs helped w/ that.  But, we learned something new we weren't told in Bulgaria nor did she tell us till now.  Logan told us Reni was sick a lot over there.  Guessing tonsils may have played a part in that.  However, she's been hospitalized over there.  Alone.  Yes, they leave them alone at the hospital.  This is tough on any kid, let alone an orphanage kid who already thinks they are throw aways.  So, Reni was terrified we'd leave her alone.  We promised we'd be there when she got up and we were.  She told us she's never getting surgery again.  I agree.  Since we've done this before, Reni was stable, etc., we were able to book it out of there at 10:30!  Her surgery was done around 8am so not a bad time frame in my opinion.  Reni really is doing great all things considered.  It IS surgery you know and will take healing time.  Now, onto Christmas tomorrow, prepping for upcoming surgeries and then Alyona's surgery on Friday.  Long week ahead but we've already started it and are moving right along.  Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Summer's Birthday

The other day, it was Summer's birthday.  December 19th.  Hard to believe that just 7 years ago, this little girl was born in Pleven, Bulgaria and then spent the subsequent three years there before being transferred to Kardzhali, Bulgaria.  What an 'adventure' if you will, for this little girl.  So much change has happened in her young life but she's taken it all in stride.  Now, she is flourishing and a big 7yo little girl.  Yes, born in December yet named Summer b/c the season always seems to make us smile.  Though all referral pics were sad looking, we knew there was a smile in there.

 Here's a few of the referral pictures of Summer.  She's come a very, very long way from these.  Her physical appearance is pretty good but it is the emotional part where she was hurt.

Close up.  don't you just want to reach up and squeeze those cheeks through the screen?  Cute.

Another of little Ms.  Summer.

Lots going on in that little head of hers, I"m sure of it.

So very unsure here.  She could barely walk and was over 2 years old. 

Now, now we have a 7 year old Summer!  Still not believing she's growing up so fast.  And now:

 Summer pretty much stays smiling now.  She is always such a happy go lucky kid.  She is in kindergarten now and doing well.  She's learning many things.  This was a picture of Summer when she went  to school for her birthday.

Summer, a bit closer up and on her way out the door for school.  I brought cupcakes later that afternoon and we all sang Happy Birthday to her.  She was happy as could be.  Wished I could have captured it.  Made Alyona go back to the car but we then realized chip was gone.  No pictures.  No worries, she is also our camera hog so we have plenty of pictures of Summer.  Happy 7th Birthday Summer Grace!  You really have made us smile and all the joy you embrace.  Can't wait to see what the year brings for Summer.

Miscellaneous pictures

Time to just stick some pictures in here for grins and giggles.  Some times I take some and forget.  So, here we go.

The other day I got to the living room and found most the girls sitting like this.  They were giving massages.  Thought it was really sweet.  You know, they weren't fighting.  LOL.

Reni looks a little surprised and poor Sofie is most likely being squished to death but was having fun.  

This was when Alex was sick a few days ago.  Do you think Bojan and Logan wanted to be  near him?  Kept him hydrated, gave pedialyte and didn't give fever reducer.  We don't give those until they hit 101 here as ours tend to run high when they get a fever.  As in 104/105 temps is the norm when they are sick. Especially, Max and Alex.  Freaks others out if they don't know that ahead of time.  Next day though Alex was out playing basketball.

Okay, so we gave ourselves a gift this year.  Thanks to my Aunt Elsie and Uncle Bob, we bought a Shark Steam Mop.  See, ours had broken months ago and we truly missed that thing.  So, new mop and new frying pan was just what we needed.  Very thankful and best part, the newness hasn't worn off so they all want to mop the floor all the time.

We did this backwards...bath first and then dinner.  Oops.  I know it's blurry but love how Sofie and Summer are looking at each other.

We were graciously given a few cases of apples the other day.  Giant pot here full of delicious apples getting ready to go in for applesauce.  Yum.

A new wreath for the front door also thanks to my aunt and uncle.  Will make things pop a little for when we go to sell the house.  It's a really big wreath and I love it.  Clearance made it better yet.  That and someone at the check out line asked if there was any more.  Kept saying how beautiful it was.  

Know I can't do it often but I know how hard it is firsthand having to raise money for adoptions.  A family was having an auction and these will make wonderful gifts.  Trouble is, they smell so good t he kids and I don't want to part with them.  We wish the Riebens all the best on their adoption journey.  I've bought from other auctions as well over the summer.  Here and there when I can.  You all really should check adoption auctions out b/c most the time you can use some items too.  I know we have.  

Kids are watching one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  We need to go to bed soon to be up at o'dark thirty tomorrow for Reni's surgery.  Well, time to work on a few more posts.

"We're Gonna Move!!"

Remember that line from Cheaper by the Dozen and all the angry kids when they found out they were moving?  Well, that's us right now at Chaos Manor.  I know you've heard us say we were moving before.  But, this time, we have a realtor and we're jumping in both feet first.  This endeavour is not just a move.  There is much, much more to it which I'll explain a few months down the road w/ exactly what our dream is and what we may be trying to do.  Lots of pieces must fall into place but this is the start of it all.  We love this home.  See, we moved here w/ 2 kids in tow.  Did you read that?  Two kids!  I barely can remember when we just had Irina and Max.  But, we did.  Told the realtor at the time we don't need all this extra space here.  Ha!  She told us I have a feeling you all will.  That these won't be your last.  We were due in Russian court that week w/ Yana and Alex.  Anyhow, she was right.  We have made this home work as much as we could thus far.  It's not a small home by most standards.  It's 3400 sq. ft.  Well used space though.

Where will we go?  Not sure.  Our main thing is to find land.  We're flexible as to where (w/in an hour's commuting distance of SAS though).  But we are looking to find at least 30 acres, up to 80.  We will be building our own home. Yep, shoot me now!  I've heard horror stories from folks.  And, 13 of us, it may be more horrifying w/ the interim living situation.  LOL.  But, we'll get through and have another experience behind our belts.  Our goal is to have 13 bedroom home.  Goal.  Who knows though.  Many of our kids hate to sleep alone.  Want their own room yet don't.  Finding practical solutions for that as well.  We all our excited.  Getting ideas of what we want in our home.  Rec room for the kids for sure.  Movie theater is a dream room but can I say that is most likely a dream that will not come true.  have ideas of what it all will look like or turn out to be but we must first sell this one.  And that is the trick.  Kids and selling a home don't really go hand in hand you know. 

We're also open up to the idea of finding an older home w/ acreage and fixing up.  To a point.  Needs to be move in ready.  So locals, feel free to look.  If you hear of anything, let us know.  Want at least 4,000 sq. ft. but prefer 5 to 6K sq. ft.  So, come January, a sign will go up in the yard.  We'll be on the lookout for other property.  We'll do it w/ not driving each other insane.  I hear the whole house hunt thing can bring out all sorts of weirdness in people.  We have enough weird here thank you very much.  All of us are pretty much on the same page though as for what we want.  Keep you all posted when things start happening.

Band, bracelets, and broken

The other week we went to Bojan's Winter Concert.  Notice, it's not a Christmas Concert any more or even a Holiday Concert.  Think that's sad but that's a whole other post.  This set of concerts was held at the high school.

Little girls were dancing around and admiring the trophy case.

Alex was shocked that the band got trophies too.  Alex is our sports fanatic remember.  Bojan's concert was good.  Just wished we would have heard Christmas music from the band this time of year.  Miss Jingle Bells and Frosty.  Something upbeat and Christmasy would be nice.  But, it was good music and they did a nice job.  Always nice to hear Bojan play.  

Nik showing me all his bracelets he made.  Do you think there are enough?

He made that anklet all one giant piece.  He did it by sort of knitting it.  He loves these things.  We really need more rubber bands soon.  Ran out.

Yes, think it's time for a new colander.  Gave this one a good run.  Frankly, we need a bigger one but they won't fit under the counter.  The legs are melted from where htey leave it on the stove.

Got a Christmas card the other day from VA.  Post office sent it to me like this.  That's right folks, just the front of the envelope left.  No letter no back of envelope, no nothing.  Thank you Hamiltons if you read this blog.  Just wished I could have read what they were up to.  

Today is Monday.  Doesn't feel  like it.  Getting last minute things done around here.  Getting ready to make a ham dinner so that Reni can have some.  Her surgery is tomorrow.  Not worried.  She'll do fine.  Every three days we're having surgery for the next week.  24th, 27th, and 30th.  Can't say it's dull here, huh?  Doing more posts.  Need to go put the ham in and dice up some things for fresh salad.  Relax and just enjoy the time.  More picture posts to come. 

Manic Monday

Ha!  That's an understatement.  Really, not sure where to begin this Monday.

  • Warren goes to pre-op today
  • Reni goes to pre-op today
  • need to finish wrapping
  • never did write all those Christmas cards
  • surgery tomorrow for Reni 
  • Christmas Eve tomorrow
  • need to make cookies
  • trying to organize for this crazy week
  • need to go grocery shopping
  • need to pay bills
  • used part of our redbox gift cert yesterday
  • got a massage gift cert from a friend
  • guess I'll never get that Christmas doormat out (still have the Halloween one down)
  • prepping house for sale
  • selling house as is
  • cleaned out linen closet
  • organizing like crazy (feels like nesting for a new one-- it's NOT!  it's NOT!!)
  • Irina's birthday is this week
  • need to celebrate Sofie's adoption w/ going to Kanki
  • Alyona goes to surgery on Friday
  • Christmas is this week of course
  • need more batteries
  • need to make tons of applesauce and apple butter w/ all apples we were given
  • trying to get Max to realize importance of school and finishing (senioritis)
  • exhausted
  • lots of posts to do
  • need to change blog look and title....eventually
  • asked to help out w/ possible webinar (FAS)
  • cleaned out the little girls' toys
  • treated ourselves to a brand new Shark Steam Mop thanks to my Aunt & Uncle
  • Logan got in trouble in school last week
  • Irina works this week
And much, much more.  We'll get through this week and learn a lot from it, I'm sure.  I have already realized we have more friends that we can count on than we can shake a stick at.  Awesome.  Will have more to come and more pictures of course.  Have a very Merry Christmas week everyone.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blessings Abound!

This Christmas Season our family has been blessed beyond measure.  The kindness and generosity of others has been overwhelming at times.  Recently, we've been having people offer meals to us during surgery week.  We've had friends offer to watch the kids when we weren't going to be here.  We've had a few "Santas."  We've also received 6 cases of organic fruit & veggies!  We've had friends come over just to chat.  Just been awesome to witness it all.

All this food was made by just one dear lady.  A friend's mom made ALL this!  Thank you Cathy!

Desserts like crazy.   There was no such thing as a bad dessert in this one.

Such variety.  Cookies and candies galore.  Beautiful and all layers upon layers of goodies.

Two full pans of stuffed shells.  Yum!  Yum!

I do not know how she made these spinach balls but I confess I ate most of them.  Delicious.  And meatballs too!  Kids were in heaven and I was so grateful for not having to cook that night.

Another friend brought chicken enchiladas so that we can make them during our surgery week.  How thoughtful was that?!  Thank you Katie!  

We can not wait to have the opportunity to pay this forward one day.  Just an awesome feeling of relief when things are a little hectic to have the extra help to make it run smoothly.  And all our friends seem to know exactly what we need and when we need it.  Just had to share. 

Where have you been?

Umm, in survival mode.  LOL.  We have had a bunch going on lately.  Schools had parties last week and well, last just say I'm not superwoman and more than one epic fail on my part.  Used to go to school and you had a Christmas party the last day of school.  One party, small, and just fun.  Now, you have festivities spread amongst the week to remember, tons of stuff to bring in and can't call it a Christmas Party.  Nope, it's a winter celebration.  Geez, times have changed!  Why bring Santa in if it's not a Christmas Party?  Bring in the snow maiden then. 

I digress.  So, had to remember books for a book exchange, cookies, ornaments for an ornament exchange, pajamas for pajama day, hot cocoa for Polar Express stuff, napkins and paper products for parties and who knows what else.  Oh, and throw in that mix cupcakes and soda for a party for Summer's Birthday too.  And remember, I watch a little boy during the day too and have Alyona who can't really lift anything right now & who's pain is getting worse.  Forgot the stroller.  Epic Fail #1.  So, I'm trying to enlist the help of two small toddlers to carry stuff w/out smashing cupcakes.  Yeh, it was nuts.  And there must have been at least a dozen people pass me.  Maybe they thought I had it together.  I don't know.  So, after stopping at least thirty times, we made it.  Got to school and realized I needed to make cookies for Nik's class for Friday.  Thursday at midnight we're making stupid chocolate chips and they are burned on the bottom and raw in the middle.  Epic Fail #2.  Warren runs to Dollar General to get Chips Ahoy.  Why the heck we didn't do that to begin with, I'll never know.  Ornaments.  Needed them.  got those on Thursday b/c I didn't have any.  Realized just today we actually DID  have other ornaments we had picked up the previous week but totally forgot about them.  This was the way my entire week went and so hence, the neglected blog posts.

Friday, we went to take Reni to our ENT.  And another surgery is now scheduled for....wait for it....wait for it......Christmas Eve!  Yeppers.  Wrote this on FB and just copying and pasting. 

Let's see what happened at Chaos Manor now. Let me get this straight.
  1. Dec. 23rd-- Warren pre-op/ Reni pre-op
    Dec. 24th-- Reni tonsillectomy (yeh, that's a new one as of now!
    Dec. 25th-- Christmas
    Dec. 27th-- Alyona's surgery & mom stays in hospital w/ her next few days
    Dec. 29th-- Warren might come visit Duke w/ some of the kids so they can see Mom and Alyona
    Dec. 30th-- Warren goes in for surgery w/ possible overnight
    Dec. 31st-- May or may not come home from Duke/ Warren may be coming home this day and it's New Year's Eve

    So, busy, busy. I will say this, I am eternally grateful for the people that have helped us out w/ Christmas and other things this week. You all know who you are! We seriously could not have done it w/out you. As of right now, we have meals as follows (b/c many are asking when we need help & how w/ both parents being gone or out of it for a few days):

    Dec. 27th-- pizza
    Dec. 28th-- lasagna
    Dec. 29th-- cereal
    Dec. 30th-- spaghetti
    Dec. 31st-- Chicken enchiladas
    Rest of the time I'm hoping I can cook between patients. LOL. I have two friends who've volunteered to come and check on the kids while I'm gone & Warren is gone and can't do anything when home. As of now, I think Warren's dad is taking him to and from hospital if it is same day. If not same day, Jennifer will pick him up the next day. Now, I think I have it all right. If you are still asking can we use help? I will not turn it down if you offer right now b/c today we got that third surgery thrown our way in just 4 days and let's just say Mom & Dad are pretty behind on things around the house, for Christmas, etc. If anyone dare complains of a boring day on Facebook, I may have to have it out with them. LOL. Wish us luck. And after all this is over, the sign is going in the yard to sell the house. Can I please go to bed the next few days?
    Now, on top of all this, we got a call from Irina while we were out Christmas shopping saying Alex has a fever of 100.  not high at all for Alex.  He's one of our ones that runs high when he gets a fever.  As in 104/105.  So, wasn't concerned.  He's eating still and as of this evening, no fever.  Praying it's a 24 hour thing but deep down, think it's strep for him.  Time will tell.  IF he has a fever tomorrow, must take him in at least to get the antibiotic script for "stand by" b/c we won't be available w/ all the surgeries.  We have only ever done this ONE time before and swore I'd never do it again.  And that time was only Alyona and Bojan at the same time.  And not during the holidays and not w/ another parent out of commission.  But, Alyona ended up w/ a botched surgery job done at Wakemed and things went downhill that time.  Long story some of you may recall.  Anyhow, we're up for the challenge.  Just critical at this point, none of the rest of us get sick.  Suggestions for occupation for the others at home is welcomed.  Not worried.  Taking it one day at a time.  Normally, this would not all be scheduled at the same time.  But, it is for a reason.  2014 is to be surgery free!  Medically free too.  Ha!  Not w/ these kiddos. Really though, we are fortunate to have relatively healthy kids most the time.  We're going w/ the flow here.  So, this is part of the reason I've been busy and blog neglecting.  Won't even get into the deal of getting Bojan his new legs and Nik new implants.  Wahoo!  we're going to make it this coming week and be better for it.  And, knowing Alyona will be out of pain in a few weeks is reassuring.  More picture posts to come and what's happening to Chaos Manor.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meadow Lights

Every year, we take the kids to Meadow Lights.  It's a tradition here and we drag them all with us.  Young and old alike.  And, one of Yana's friends got drug along as well simply b/c he was at the house at the time.  hey, we make no exceptions.  LOL.  It was sort of an impromptu decision just b/c we knew the following week would be too hectic to go.

This was a day where Sofie hadn't taken a nap.  Can you tell?

Nik beyond excited waiting for the train to arrive.

Our three youngest checking out the lights.

The girls of course wanted their picture taken.

And Summer mad she didn't get in w/ the first group of girls so wanted me to take it again.

Safe to say Nik loves his little sister.

The lights are beautiful.  Really are.  Better in person as a camera can't capture it.

And of course we had to see Santa.  Or as Sofie calls him 'Ho, Ho, Ho.'  Yet, she's still scared of him.  Likes to high 5 him and move on w/ the candy.  You're not allowed to take pics inside unless you are buying them.

 I just think Alex looks so much older here.  And no, Summer's coat is not small.  Goofball pulled her sleeves all the way down of her sweatshirt underneath. 

So, we were trying to line people up to get a picture of them all together.

Umm, yeh.  That's not working so well, is it?

No one is missing.  Alyona is hidden behind Sofie.  Notice her legs?  LOL.  Hey, all I can say is we tried and older kids amused us for the most part.

And, the main reason we all come here anyhow...the candy!  Of course.  Only part of the old fashioned candy store.  We go every year.  And yes, eat some on the way home.  Go home, and watch Christmas movies.  

We were supposed to go to the Christmas Parade this past weekend but the down pours got the better of us.  Each year, we do a few things for Christmas that have become little traditions I would say.  Hope we can keep some years to come and one day, take our grand kids here.  Right?  We're done w/ kids, kids, aren't we??  I'm waiting for Warren to come screaming upstairs.  LOL.  Anyhow, great time at Meadow Lights other than some little teen attitude in the beginning.  Pleasant time and that's what we shoot for.  More to come but need to head to bed.  Guess I need to explain soon what's going to be happening w/ Chaos Manor.